The great harm playing fantasy sports has done to real sports is in valuing individuality above team. The Bulls, beyond Rose and perhaps Deng, are easy to pick apart. Joakim Noah’s shot looks funny; Carlos Boozer struggles with length and doesn’t play much defense; Hamilton is too creaky; Ronnie Brewer isn’t really a starter on a championship team; blah, blah, blah. Yet there they are atop the NBA standings, strong in the ways the serious contenders always are (defense and rebounding).
Every team has flaws. The Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year despite a few. They couldn’t play Boozer and Noah in crunch time, Korver was inconsistent and they had no secondary scorer in key moments, which allowed teams to double team Rose and force him to take tough shots.
It’s unclear whether they have solved that last issue yet, but there is still hope that a healthy Rip Hamilton can fill that void. Joakhim Noah has been playing much better on offense, and the Bulls, who already had the deepest bench in the league, have seen Jimmy Butler and John Lucas III show signs of brilliance at times.